When people think about energy in Alberta, the first thing that comes to mind for many is fossil fuels. But make no mistake — we’re getting pretty good at this renewables thing too! Alberta’s government has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a low-carbon economy, with renewable energy playing a key role.
The Renewable Electricity Act is a legislation that demonstrates the province’s commitment to green energy. It outlines Alberta’s big goal to boost the production of renewable energy within the province, aiming for 30% of Alberta’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030.
Here are a few reasons why green energy is becoming more popular and accessible across our beautiful prairies.
All about the elements
The majority of Canada’s clean power comes from an extensive network of hydropower dams in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec. But here at home, the most popular sources of green energy come from solar and wind power. One more reason to be grateful for those big open skies!
Solar power is captured from the sun and generated by photovoltaic (PV) cells. A single PV cell might power a simple tool like a calculator; a solar panel, which groups together many PV cells, can power lights in a small space like a motor home; and multiple solar panels can be combined into “solar arrays” to provide power to homes and businesses.
In many cases, solar arrays capture more energy than single users need themselves, in which case excess energy can be sold back to the grid to help even more people for a true win-win.
On an even larger scale, solar farms are purpose-built to provide power directly to the electricity grid and can help to meet the energy needs of larger (and most helpfully, remote) communities.
Wind energy uses turbines to capture the forces of wind to generate electricity. The wind turns the blades of the turbine rotor, which are attached to a driveshaft. The driveshaft then spins a generator to create electricity. It’s as easy as that.
The best part? The production of electricity from solar and wind energy generates no greenhouse gas emissions, no air or water pollution, and no toxic or hazardous wastes.
Alberta has an average of 312 sunny days in the year, and it’s no stranger to wind either. Southern Alberta is one of the windiest regions in all of Canada, but if you’ve ever visited Lethbridge, you already knew that! Our abundance of sunshine and Chinook winds provide the perfect environment for solar panels and wind turbines to thrive.
With our expertise in the energy sector and the climate for success, Alberta’s renewable progress should continue its upward trend, with some even forecasting the province as the Canadian leader in wind and solar capacity as soon as 2025.
Like fax machines and selfie sticks, coal is so last decade. Here in our province and across the country, there is a push being made to phase out coal-fired electricity, and replace it with natural gas, wind and solar power.
So, what are the alternatives? Between 2017 and 2023, Alberta alone will add nearly 2,000 megawatts of renewable power capacity to the grid. And that’s no small feat.
The government’s goal is to have 30% of Alberta's electricity generated by renewable energy by 2030. Alberta has the potential to become a global leader in renewable energy, and we’re on track!
- Alberta is already third in Canada for installed wind energy capacity, and that number will keep growing with lots of large-scale projects still on deck.
- More natural gas generation will be added to the grid.
- More than 12,000 solar units are active in Alberta (77% of which are residential). As solar technology becomes increasingly affordable and accessible, more homeowners are turning to this renewable energy source.
It’s good to have options
It is exciting to see Alberta diversify its energy industry. Innovative energy solutions are the way of the future, and they might already be more accessible than you think!
Did you know that ATCOenergy offers green energy plans? You can make the choice to have 25% or even 100% of your household energy come from Alberta’s renewable sources. So, whether you rent or own, live in an apartment or a single-family home, greener options are available for you. Now that’s something to get excited about.
If you want in on the action, you can even source your own energy through a household solar array. In the past few years, government rebates and financing options have made solar power more accessible to homeowners — meaning you can have your own slice of green energy right up on the roof. We even have Rümi service providers ready to help you be the clean energy leader in your neighbourhood with custom solar panel installation.
There are lots of ways to do your part for the environment, and your bank account. Consider if green home improvements are right for you and your energy bill.